Shiner, Texas. A town synonymous with Texas culture is a pilgrimage for people who like to quench their thirst for the Lone Star State style of life.
But the old Spoetzl Brewery isn’t the only place in town to get one of their namesake beers. You can also head to a little convenience store on the northwest side of town simple known as Howards.
Howard Gloore is a simple man of Swiss descent that grew up in town and the convenience store he opened back in 1984 has been a one stop for shop for everyone in Shiner. And I do mean one stop shop. You can find beer, bait, ammo.
“I sell ’em a hunting license, fishing license,” Howard. “Buy the bait, buy the ammo. Gotta have a beer and ice to go with it.”
Looking for a movie? Howard’s got them! Even on VHS.
“Three movies for three days for three dollars,” Howard. “That’s our rate. And it’s been that same way for probably about 15 years.”
What people really come here for is a cold one and to catch up. Because at Howard’s, it’s more than just a store. It’s a place for people to connect.
“I mean, some people call it a grocery store, other people call it a bar,” Zach said. “This is a convenience store. It’s convenient for me to drink a beer.”
Now usually popping a top at a place like this is not the norm. Howard’s, however, is a bit different.
“Of course, I did an on-premise beer license from day one, which most stores do not have,” Howard said. “They rather you just buy the beer and out the door, and see you later. But, I wanted people to come here and visit and enjoy each other and have a good time. When you can sit around with a beer, that’s what you do.”
It’s not often you’ll find a corner store with a covered patio but thanks to the popularity of Howard’s, a backyard to beckon the big talkers in town was only natural.
“Come here after work and grab a cold beer and sit out underneath the trees and have a good time,” David said. “Talk to everybody. It’s a good time.”
Being a purveyor of personal connections is sort of what Howard set out to do when he opened his lackadaisical lounge. Prior to his career in convenience, Howard had an a career in dentistry that most people prefer not to think about.
“I was a dentist,” Howard said. “Yeah, nobody likes that guy.”
With patrons not being exactly ecstatic to see him, Howard needed a change of pace and opened his store.
“I love this, ’cause it’s literally a community gathering center, and it’s simply a gas station,” Howard said. “It is a gathering center. That’s exactly what it is and that’s, from day one, that’s what I wanted.”
So if you even find yourself passing through Shiner, looking for a conversation with a cold one, a visit to Howards is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.
“Howard’s is the meet and greet and make new friends, make new family,” Zach said. “You come here one day thinking. Next hour, you turn around, you got a best friend. Somebody that’s gonna sit there and drink with you, have a great time with you, for years to come.”